The Ministry of Industry and Trade will further develop the flower industry's market share in Asia as part of its expansion plan for 2011.

Because of the geographical proximity, flower exporters can take advantage of lower transport costs, improve preservation and trade and commercial relations.

Long-term goals call for Canada, the US and other countries in central Europe to be the main targets of the domestic flower industry.

To realise its export market development plan, the ministry says flower growers should apply advanced technology to increase productivity, improve product quality and minimise productions costs.

The ministry also says authorised agencies should create a legal framework that emphasises both international technical standards and the development of flower cultivation in Vietnam.

Other important tasks in 2011 include sales promotions and diversification of growing areas.

Last year, the country's flower -growing area totalled 8,000 ha, which yielded 4.5 billion fresh-cut branches, of which 1 billion were rose, daisy and orchid for export. The year's export value was 60 million USD.

The biggest import markets include China, which imports flowers from Da Lat such as roses, lily and orchids, and Japan, whose customers are fond of lotus.

The Netherlands imports many kinds of Vietnamese flowers to export to other countries.

Singapore, Australia and Saudi Arabia have for years also imported large volumes of Vietnamese flowers.

Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Lam Dong province in the Central Highlands produce the highest quantity of flower branches, according to the ministry.

Da Lat City in Lam Dong province is the country's biggest flower producer and exporter, annually supplying 10 million saplings for both domestic and overseas markets.

Its flower plantation area covers more than 3,500 ha, or 40 percent of the country's total area. It contributes 50 percent of the country's total production.

Although the industry is developing well, its flower farms are mostly small in size and do not have business plans. In addition, farmers are not using flower hybrids, which has not improved quality.

Vietnamese companies currently can supply only about 50 percent of the market's demand./.